Advocacy and Strategic Planning

Michael J. Readinger

Michael J. Readinger

The CHHSM board and staff are gearing up for a series of meetings by phone this spring and in person at our June board meeting to continue implementing our strategic plan.

Some of these initiatives are a continuation of the goals we set over the last couple of years, while some are new ideas that are a logical extension of our current work. Some are old ideas that have taken a new form as we have changed and grown. All are aligned with our vision statement: “Together, we create a just, caring and compassionate world.” Each of these initiatives calls us to embrace our core values – covenant, inclusion, stewardship, courage, and servant leadership.

We will continue to seek new and innovative ways to engage with the wider United Church of Christ, the ecumenical community, and our member organizations. We know how important relationships are in binding us together as a shared ministry of service.

Many UCC churches who helped form health and human service ministries years ago may not recall the historical connection between their congregation and a CHHSM ministry nearby. And vice versa. There are also many untapped points of intersection between our member organizations and local churches, Associations, Conferences, our partner ministries and one another.

We believe that engaging and collaborating will help us more fully realize our vision, with an emphasis on “together.”  As we create resource-sharing platforms that our members can source and access, we will create an even more active membership experience that will engage us beyond our existing affinity groups and Annual Meetings.

In our efforts to improve our own house, we will continue to develop a strong and focused Board of Directors that will not only provide sound fiduciary governance but will also provide a platform for CHHSM leaders to emerge as leaders in our denomination and in their respective cities, states, and national associations and legislatures.

We have expanded the number of volunteers serving our national board by adding a number of member executives to a variety of important committees. Almost all of these folks are graduates of CHHSM’s Nollau Institute or one of its predecessor leadership development programs and have expressed interest in being more involved in CHHSM’s work after their consecration as Diakonal Ministers.

In fact, there are more than 200 such graduates across the life of our association and denomination and, to engage them more proactively, we are in the process of developing new Diakonal Minister continuing education experiences.

We are also looking at ways to make the popular year-long Nollau Institute experience more scalable and affordable by taking it on the road in a regional one-day “Nollau to You” format, with a compressed curriculum that will allow us to reach 100 potential servant leaders over the course of a year.

Each of the above initiatives calls us to look at different models for CHHSM membership. Currently, only corporations founded by UCC entities can be members, but we are exploring ways to expand membership to include more individuals, organizations and congregational ministries that exist in communion with the UCC.

As we become more fully engaged, our capacity to lead expands, as the principles of servant leadership sift through every level of our member organizations, the UCC and the wider church. This enables us to assemble CHHSM’s collective voice on public policy issues of justice, health, access, inclusion, and wellness.

That, my friends, is how we together create a just, caring and compassionate world. It will take a lot of work to implement and live into these new initiatives, and that’s where you all come in.  Please consider volunteering your time to lend your hand, heart, voice, mind and spirit to the cause. After all, many hands make light work. Contact us today to discuss the opportunities to join in the fun.

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